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BioWare is working hard on Mass Effect: Andromeda in preparation for its release in spring of 2017 next year. However, they're making a drastic change in the game and its presentation compared to the previous Mass Effect trilogy.
In an interview with Game Informer, creative director Mac Walters revealed that the one thing they're doing differently this time around is giving Mass Effect a lighter tone compared to the more dark-fantasy sci-fi themes featured in the previous games. Walters explained...
People loved the choices that matter and they loved some of the darker things that happened in the series, if we were going to explore in this new galaxy and we wanted the player to feel like they were going to explore I think people were saying, 'don't make me feel like if I go off and do this little side quest I'm letting the universe burn'.
It's an interesting little tidbit to explain that players will be encouraged to go on side-quests and do little things off on the side without worrying about leaving the "universe" to "burn".
In the previous Mass Effect titles, I will be honest and say that side-quests did feel like you were running off to abandon the fate of all life in the known galaxy to do fetch quests on a planet for a little bit of extra XP, and there was that constant weight to get back on track and bring the Reapers to their knees with the righteous blade of galactic justice.
Even though technically the entirety of Mass Effect 2's story arc was basically one giant team-building fetch quest, there was still that feeling of emergence surrounding the fate of some of the characters and worlds out there whenever a separate side-quest on a distant planet popped up. That feeling was certainly amplified in Mass Effect 3, where the stakes were even higher than in the first two games and poor old Shepard had the entire fate of the universe resting on their shoulders.
I do wonder how they plan on lightening the tone in Mass Effect: Andromeda? Will this mean more jokes or just less stakes pressed upon the player throughout the entire thing?
There have been some mixed feelings about the upcoming title from the gaming community. Some worry it may be too close to Dragon Age: Inquisition, while others feel as if being more like Dragon Age: Inquisition in terms of pacing, tone and character interactions would be a good thing. Some gamers are hoping that it's more focused and linear like Mass Effect 3 when it comes to the main story arc, with others are hoping it's closer to Mass Effect 1 when it comes to openness and exploration.
It's clear that fans are looking for different things out of the upcoming title, but at least now they'll know that it will have a slightly less grim-dark tone permeating throughout the story. During seventh gen there was a strong focus on gritty, grim-dark stories that was ushered in with the first Gears of War, but maybe we'll be seeing a step away from that approach to story exploration during this gen.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is due to drop this spring for the PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One and PC.